Tune of the Day: La plus que lente
Debussy wrote “La plus que lente” for solo piano in 1910. The title of this waltz may be translated as "The Even Slower Waltz" or, more literally, "The More Than Slow". Despite its title, “La plus que lente” was not meant to be played slowly: lente, in this context, refers to the valse lente genre that Debussy attempted to emulate. Typical of Debussy's caustic approach to naming his compositions, it represented his reaction to the vast influence of the slow waltz in France's social atmospheres.
“La plus que lente” is marked “Molto rubato con morbidezza”, indicating Debussy's encouragement of a very flexible tempo. Molto rubato (literally, “very stolen”) allows the player great rhythmic freedom, while con morbidezza means “softly”, “tenderly”.
The original version of this piece was scored in G-flat major (with six flats in the key signature), but flutists usually play it transposed to G major, since this key better fits the playing range of the flute... not to mention that it's way easier to read!